Labour Calls for Exit Strategy for both Pandemic and Recession

mick lerry
Cllr Mick Lerry -Labours,spokesman on Business, reviews the situation

Cllr Mick Lerry, business spokesperson for Bridgwater Town Council, has called on the Government to clearly outline the phased programme from Lockdown to the “new normal”, as many businesses closed by the Pandemic need to fully understand, along with the public, the next steps for coming out of Lockdown. The contention is that if businesses and the public know where they are going, they are more likely to trust the Government that they “will end up in the right place”. Keir Starmer, the Labour Leader , has been pressing this case for the Government to be transparent with the British public and now the case is being taken up locally by Labour controlled Bridgwater Town Council and their Economics portfolio Holder Mick Lerry.

Mick Lerry says “There has been much support for businesses to manage the Lockdown with funding for wages, relief from business rates and grants, along with the Chancellor’s new loan scheme. However, some businesses have either not qualified for grants or received less than anticipated. With the quick closure of some premises in the hospitality, leisure and service sector, grants were needed to cover the immediate loss of income and supply orders that could not be cancelled. The take up of grants has been beneficial to local businesses; but some businesses have not applied and others have been unsuccessful in their application.”

Is the Government’s response working?

With High streets closed an exit strategy from Lockdown is needed

The only alternative for some businesses has been the Government’s loan scheme, which has recently been changed so that 100% is underwritten by the Government. With a supposedly easier application process and the loan does not have to be repaid until 12 months. However, Mick believes that many Businesses will be concerned about what the future economy will look like after Lockdown saying “Businesses have already had to adapt just to keep operating and many will be concerned about demand for their products or services in the future.”

The Labour Opposition have been pressing the Government to change the loan system and to announce the staged strategy for the Economy to come out of Lockdown, which will not be immediate. Countries in Europe such as Germany and the Czech Republic have given clear trigger points for the operational return of Businesses out of Lockdown. This has allowed Businesses to know how they can prepare and re-organise for opening-up and in many cases allowing for social distancing. Mick says “Uncertainty will mean for some businesses they will be reluctant to borrow finance, if they are not sure about where their business will be in the future. What is important is for those businesses who need capital, is that they should contact Sedgemoor District Council’s Economic Department, for advice and guidance about the grants and loans available.”

Huge Global Recession

Town centres will need some special attention post Lockdown

The pandemic has caused a huge recession, not just locally; but, globally. Mick believes that the Government will have to put in the funding for investment for a New Deal such as a Green New Deal to make sure that economy recovers. He says “In many circumstances it will not be going back to “business as usual”, the future could change the business world dramatically, both for consumers, producers and retailers. The local economy will have to consider sustainable community wealth building, which will be an economy not based on growth only; but, regeneration. The Lockdown has already introduced different methods of working, such as at home and consumer behaviour has been forced to change and local businesses have responded and reinvented their operational capacity.”



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